When I was growing up, Madonna once said, “Jesus Christ was like a movie star, my favorite idol of all.”¹
Napoleon Bonaparte went further: “I know men, and I tell you Jesus Christ was not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of infinity.”²
And then there was novelist H. G. Wells: “I am an historian, I am not a believer. But, this penniless preacher from Galilee is irresistibly the centre of history.”³
There has never been a human quite like Jesus. He towers above us all in goodness and courage, in impact and influence. The greatest artists, leaders, and thinkers, all put together, are dwarfed by Him.
Yet Jesus did not come to impress us. He said He had come to save us, in total humility, as God come down among us. If He is who He says He is, and the Gospel is real, then this is very good news. He simply wants us to learn to reach out and trust Him to help and calm us, to forgive and restore us. If we are to live fully and empowered, then this has to be the first step.
So wherever you are with God — whether you are searching, are wanting more, or have turned your back and are walking away — this verse is truth:
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. — Luke 19:10
Who Was Jesus?
At some point in life, most people find themselves asking this simple question. We all have to make up our minds, just as people did back when He was walking on earth. For them — and us too — there seem to be only three credible, possible answers:
- He is out of His mind. (Mark 3:21)
- He is possessed by Beelzebul! (Mark 3:22)
- [He is] the Son of God. (Mark 3:11)
In other words, He was either insane, evil, or God.
I used to think, Couldn’t He simply have been a good teacher and good guy? But then I looked at His life and words. Do good teachers repeatedly claim to be God? Do they claim to be one with the Father? Do they say they have come to die for all of mankind? Do they raise people from the dead and walk on water and calm storms? Those are strong claims and strong deeds.
C. S. Lewis reasoned that “a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be [insane]… or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice… But, let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”4
Who we decide Jesus is to us is a big question with big implications for our lives. But if we study the overwhelming and compelling evidence and then choose to believe that He is who He said He is—if we can take that leap of faith and ask, “Are You really there, and are You really good?”—it can be the start of an incredible journey and adventure. An adventure into life.
That’s why the offer He made two thousand years ago still stands for us today:
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28
Even today, for you and me, right now — that invitation has the power to change everything. If we let Him, He seeks us, saves us, strengthens us, supports us, and shows us how to live every day.
- Scott Cohen, “Madonna: The 1985 ‘Like a Virgin’ Cover Story,” Spin, May 1985.
- Clayton Kraby, “Napoleon Bonaparte’s View of Jesus,” Reasonable Theology, https://reasonabletheology.org/napoleon-bonapartes-view-of-jesus/.
- Thomas A. Harris, I’m OK—You’re OK (New York: Quill, 2004).
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperOne, 2001). Mere Christianity: copyright © C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. 1942, 1943, 1944, 1952. Extracts reprinted by permission.
Excerpted with permission from Soul Fuel by Bear Grylls, copyright BGV Global Limited.
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Jesus is the pivotal person in all of history. People may try to squeeze Him into the box of “a good man” or “a prophet”, but it doesn’t work. He’s either God Himself, the Creator of all things, or He’s not worth following! Do you believe that He is God and He is good? And that He can change everything? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily